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Discovery Magazine 12/1/2010

Camouflaged Warriors of the Jungle

Not many people would deny that the tiger is a beautiful creature, and perhaps most would argue that tiger cubs are among the cutest of baby animals. So, it was not unexpected that in 2004, film makers decided to bring baby tigers Kumal and Sangha to the big screen in the movie, “Two Brothers.” The movie played on over 2000 screens and brought in over six million dollars its opening weekend.

Humans have been fascinated with the various species of the feline (cat) family since the beginning of time, especially the “king of beasts”—the lion. However, contrary to what you may think, it is not the lion that is the largest member of the cat family, but the tiger. Five subspecies of tigers are in existence today, including the Siberian, Bengal, Indo-Chinese, Sumatran, and the very endangered South China tiger, of which there are only a few dozen alive.

The Siberian tiger is known to be the largest tiger, with a length of up to 13 feet and a weight of up to 660 pounds. That’s as big as some horses! Bengal tigers are the most common tiger, accounting for around half of the total tiger population. Male Bengal tigers can grow to be over three feet tall and weigh between 350 and 500 pounds.

Although most tigers are bright, reddish-tan with black stripes, many people are especially taken by the beauty of the white Bengal tigers, most of which live in India. They are not a separate subspecies of tiger and are not albino, but are simply white-colored with black stripes and blue eyes. A pure white tiger does not have stripes, but is completely white in color. Black tigers have been reportedly spotted in the forests of Burma and eastern India.

Of special interest is the fact that scientists do not know exactly why tigers have stripes. They cannot explain how such a feature could have evolved using the principles in the theory of evolution. However, creationists have no problem explaining the tiger’s stripes. We know that they were designed by the Chief Engineer on day six of Creation. Among other things, they serve as a camouflage that is useful during hunting and afford beauty for the eyes of mankind.

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